Week 10: Ná Śhledanou

Ahoj Everone!

Wow can you believe our 10 weeks of this journey is already over? It is such a bittersweet moment for me for multiple reasons having to say goodbye to Prague, my friends I have met along the way, and now you guys. I never would have thought during the last 10 months I would have been able to accomplish as much as I did and I am forever grateful for every single memory.

It is still hard for me to fathom the things I have done and seen, can you believe I have traveled to 16 countries while studying abroad. Ready for the list, the Czech Republic, England, France, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy. Whether it was laying under the Eiffel tower sparkling at night, taking a picture in front of Big Ben, laying on the beach in Spain, or falling in love with the rolling green hills of Ireland, my memories of these places will last a life time. I have study abroad and my mom all to thank for this and again I cannot thank them enough.

I hope I have opened your eyes to the wonderful world of traveling and exploring. It too is possible for you to get out and see the world, the opportunity might not fall right into your lap but it is there, trust me. If I can do all this you can too, and I will be right there behind you cheering you on. Getting out and exploring even if it’s a new area around your house is so important as well because it helps you appreciate the little things. Just remember there is always more than what you are accustomed to.

I have had the greatest time getting to report about these places I have loved exploring for you all. Answer your questions was always the highlight of my week because it really gave me the chance to personally talk to each and every one of you. I hope the pictures and content I chose each week was interesting and sparked a little interest in other countries and cultures. I am so happy that we also got to Skype, thank you for being so kind and interested. You all have made these past 10 weeks so incredible for me. I cannot thank you all and especially Mr. DuPont enough for taking the time to read my blog. If anyone has any other questions about Prague or other places I have been too please don’t hesitate to send them my way. I hope you all have a great summer, I am looking forward to being reunited with my friends and family that I haven’t seen for 10 months. I wish I was there to say this in person but as we say in Prague Ná Śhledanou (goodbye)

Best, Jamie

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One last cheers from sunny England!

Photo of the week: Beautiful Break in Brighton

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Ahoj Everyone!

Well my time abroad is slowly winding down and I am finishing up my travels. After leaving Scotland I headed on a 10-hour bus ride to Brighton, England. My friend Kacie and I are here to attend a music festival that takes places at the Brighton Airport, which is really exciting. We have been traveling for 17 days on this trip and coming to a beautiful place like Brighton makes it all worth it. I fly back to Prague this evening only to leave for Vienna, Austria the following day. Why am I going to Vienna, Austria of all places, well don’t laugh at me, promise? I am going there to attend a One Direction concert. I might be the oldest one in the audience but boy am I excited! I hope you all are exciting about summer break right around the corner, I remember the feeling!

Best, Jamie

Week 10: Left my heart in Ireland, sorry mom!

Ahoj Everyone!

I have spent the last 8 days in Dublin, Ireland having the time of my life. From the second I landed in this wonderful country my friend/travel buddy Kacie and I were greeted with a warm welcome. I thought I would tell you a little about my trip and share some of my favorite pictures with you all from my time in the magical country of Ireland.

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This was Phoenix Park, a beautiful area of Dublin where the Irish President and the US ambassador live, as well as where the zoo is located.

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First stop after arriving in Ireland, Fish & Chips. They are served just like in the movies with salt and vinegar in big brown paper bags!
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The fish was also the size of my head!

As soon as we arrived in the Dublin airport Kacie and I were shocked to see another language on all the signs and being spoken on the intercom. Silly to say but I had no idea that people actually spoke a different language in Ireland, I just thought they spoke English with just a different accent. The language that they speak there is called Irish or Gaelic. It is a beautiful language that unfortunately is dying out due to the fact not many people are required to learn it in school or at home. However you can still find all the street signs and bus stops to be written in both English and Gaelic.   

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We can’t visit a country and not try their traditional breakfast! Here we have the “full Irish Breakfast” that is served with eggs, bacon, sausage, grilled tomato, mushroom, and black and white pudding.
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Well this hockey puck looking thing they call black & white pudding is a blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavorings – and blood (usually from a pig). I cant say that this was my favorite but I had to at least try it!

In order to get the real Irish experience we wanted we were lucky to find a lovely place to stay in the country. We stayed in a placed called Dunboyne in County Meath, which was only a 30-minute bus ride away from the city. We stayed with the loveliest Irish family that was nothing but warm and welcoming to us. From the second we walked through the door we had homemade Irish bread and tea being offered to us. After living away from my own home and in an apartment with friends for 9 months it felt wonderful to be back in a family home.

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Another perk of staying with the lovely family we did, they had animals. Belle the dog was our absolute favorite and would sometimes sneak into our bedroom early in the morning!
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Beautiful Meath county, this was our view while walking to the bus stop everyday.

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Took a tour of the Guinness factory which is located right in Dublin. Guinness is a alcoholic beverage (beer) that was created in Dublin in 1759. This factory was amazing because it was 7 floors of showing you each process that is needed to create just one drink.
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This buildings is located in a part of Dublin called Temple Bar. This is where you can often find many tourists and visitors.
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Inside the Guinness factory.

I didn’t know much about Dublin or Ireland in general when arriving for this trip. I always just associated it with leprechauns, St. Patrick’s Day, rainbows with a pot of gold, and lots of greenery but was lucky to explore and learn about its real culture and way of life. It had an entirely different atmosphere than Prague and was a nice change. I didn’t meet one a single Irish person that wouldn’t go out of their way to help, whether it was for directions, restaurant recommendations, or how the heck the public transportation worked (side note about the buses, you can only pay with coins so we always had to make sure I had 3.30 euros with us).

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Walking around castle ruins is something I will never get used to!
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Another beautiful pub (restaurant) in temple bar area.
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This was one of our favorite meals which was called a cornish pastie. It was basically a meat and cheese pie that you can eat on the go!

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Inside beautiful Saint Steven’s Mall in Dublin.
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We wanted something special to signify our great trip to Ireland, so I got a Claddagh ring. This is a traditional Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship (the hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty)

One thing Kacie and I do after we visit every country is come up with pros and cons of the place. Whether it be its public transportation, weather, and our accommodations. We tried doing this for Ireland and honestly couldn’t come up with one negative, well maybe the weather. But hey, it has to rain a lot in order to stay so beautifully green right? I couldn’t put my finger on why I fell in love with Dublin during my 8-day adventure so I asked Kacie her thoughts. She said, “There are so many different aspects of Dublin that I’ve fallen in love with. The people are friendly, the food is delicious, and everywhere you look is a new adventure that is calling your name. I think my next step is graduate school at Trinity College!”

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This is Kacie and I standing by a statue of St. Patrick, the reason we celebrate St. Paddys day!

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Even though I didn’t want to leave Ireland we had a schedule to keep and Scotland was next on the list. It was a very short 45-minute plane ride (6am flights aren’t fun) to Edinburgh, Scotland. I have only been here for 2 days but I thought I would share some pictures from this beautiful city!

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Boy is it windy in Scotland!
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Next I need to try a Scottish breakfast that includes Haggis. It is made from a sheep’s stomach stuffed with diced sheep’s liver, lungs and heart, oatmeal, onion, suet and seasoning, Wish me luck!
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Surprise..more fish and chips!
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The beautiful Edinburgh Castle!

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Any Harry Potter fans? Well this is the cemetery where JK Rowling came for inspiration. Here you can find the graves for Thomas Riddell (inspiration for Tom Riddle) and William McGonagall (inspiration for Minerva McGonagall).
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Edinburgh is a unique city in the fact that it is built on hills, this also means it has an entire underground village.

 I can’t wait to hear from you guys on the blog and even more excitingly get to Skype with you all! I wish I could be there in person but luckily technology is helping me cross the ocean for a couple of hours!

 Best,

Jamie

Photo of the week; Looking ahead for the future!

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This was my view of Dublin, Ireland while touring the Guinness Factory (a very popular alcoholic drink here in Ireland)

Ahoj Everyone!

Well I have been in Dublin, Ireland for the past 8 days and can honestly say this is my favorite place I have every been too. I will leave all the sappy reasons why I love it here for the next blog post but one thing that I have figured out while being here is that I want to come back. This study abroad experience has really made me open my eyes and think about the future and what I hope to accomplish. I know leaving Europe will be hard but I am excited for the possibilities of returning someday soon!

Best,

Jamie

Week 9: pizza, ponchos, & the pantheon; Rome at a glance!

Ahoj Everyone!

As much as I hate having to leave Prague for this adventure, it is always fun to explore a new and unfamiliar country and culture. The start of our adventure began in beautiful Rome, Italy.

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The beautiful streets of Rome!
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The first night we arrived we found a small pizzeria and ordered giant pizzas. The owner kept bringing us Italian dishes that he wanted us to try for free. He spoke no english and we speak zero Italian so it was fun trying to communicate.
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Who can try and read this ten times fast!

The second we stepped off the plane and felt how warm and sunny Italy was we knew we were going to enjoy our time there. When my friend Kacie and I left the airport was when the real adventure began, trying to find our Air b n b. Whats that you ask? Well it is a service, almost like a hotel, where you rent either an entire home or room online. This is usually the most affordable and practical option for me because my friends and I can rent a place all together. Another great aspect of Air bnb is that you get to stay with local residents who can give you advice as to what to see, eat, and experience. We had a lovely host named Davide who made sure we felt right at home in his beautiful Italian Villa.

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Smart cars rule the street in Italy. Since parking is very limited these little babies come in handy.
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Nothing better on a hot humid day than melon gelato (the best I think I have ever had)
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Vibrant buildings were everywhere in this city.
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Surprise, pasta is sold everywhere in the grocery store!
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All around the city you can find “gladiators” where you can take a picture if you give them a few euros (money).

We spent the 4 days we had in Rome exploring the beautiful historical sights and eating lots of pizza, and I’m not kidding when I say lots of it. I must admit I had one for almost every meal (don’t tell my mom). The pizza there is so fresh and a lot different than what we often have in the states. It is usually on a very thin crust with fresh sauce and toppings and costs around 8 dollars for a giant one.

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Yup, more pizza!
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Ancient ruins in the middle of the city.
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The public transportation system in Rome is often very busy and crowded.
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One day we were surprised to get outside of the metro and be greeted to a downpour of rain. It was so bad we had to buy ponchos just to try and walk outside, we still got wet.
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We woke up very early one morning to visit Vatican City. This is where the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church are and is ruled by the Pope.

When we weren’t eating pizza, pasta, and gelato we were touring the beautiful old sights. These are things that I have only read about in my history books and couldn’t believe I was there in person to experience them. It was also incredible to think that these were some of the oldest buildings and ruins that I have ever seen in my entire life.

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Inside the Vatican Museum which was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. This room was called the room of maps.
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This museum had everything, even a mummy from Egypt.
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This was outside of St. Peters Basicalla in Vatican City.
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The staircase in the bottom of the photo leads down to a crypt (a place where all the past popes are buried).
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Inside St. Peters Basilica.

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I think 4 days was the perfect amount to explore Rome because it gave us enough time do see all of the tourist sights, but also allowed for a lot of wandering time. One of my favorite things to do is put the map and phones away and just explore these beautiful places with my friends.

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I bet many of you have seen this place before. This is the colosseum where gladiators fought and was built in 72 AD and completed in 80 AD. Do any of you know how old that makes this structure?
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Every street looked like it was out of a magazine!
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Here we are at the Spanish Steps that were built in 1723 to link the two sections of the city together. (Side note, growing up my friends and I used to watch The Lizzie McGuire Movie, which was filmed right at these steps. It was a very cool moment for me when visiting here)
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Ah the Trevi Fountain, which was sadly under construction.
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The Pantheon, this was one building that I always read about in history books and was very excited to see in person. It is the most preserved and influential building of ancient Rome and was built around 118 AD.
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Inside the Pantheon.

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After spending three hours in the Vatican museum we decided to have a little photo shoot with the statues. heres my friend & travel buddy Kacie!

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I am now in Ireland writing this blog for you guys. I am on phase 2 of my trip and look forward to taking even more pictures here in Dublin where I have already fallen in love with the people, culture, and scenery. I cant believe I am going to say this after all the places I have been but I think Dublin, Ireland is my favorite place I’ve traveled thus far (ask me again in a couple days and Im sure I have changed my mind again :)).

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Next stop, Ireland!

Best,

Jamie

Photo of the week: Let the adventure begin…again!

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Ahoj everyone!

Well school is officially over, I am moved out of my apartment in Prague, and my bag is packed. My friend Kacie and I are off for one last adventure before returning home. As I mentioned in last weeks blog we are going to Italy, Ireland, Scotland, England, and Austria. Since we are flying to most of those destinations we had to pack very light because often checking bags here in Europe are very expensive. Ive learned a lot of important things while studying abroad, one being how to pack lightly. I was the type of person who would have 3 large suitcases and a carry one when going home for the weekend in college, but here I cant do that. Basically the less you have the less weight you have to carry around with you while traveling. I cant wait to report about the journey I am on and share lots of photos with you! For a little fun can anyone guess how much my travel bag weighed?

-Best

Jamie!

Week 8: Another day, another castle..

Ahoj my friends!

This week I had to pleasure of exploring a beautiful Czech village called Karlštejn that is only a 45 minute train journey from Prague. The village is very well known not only for its small, quaint atmosphere but also because it has a one of the oldest castles in the Czech Republic. I don’t have much longer to be able to say that I went to a castle this week straight our of a Disney movie.

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Leaving the bustling streets of Prague and arriving in the quiet, picturesque village!
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I of course had to add a food picture to my blog. Here we have a very typical Czech meal of goulash and dumplings that believe it or not was only about 3 dollars.

Since this is such a small village public transportation is not really a thing, so we had to walk about 10 minutes to the center of the town. This castle was built in 1348 by Charles IV, who was the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia (which just means the Czech lands).  This castle held the Czech royal jewels and royal treasures for hundreds of years before they were moved to Prague.

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We picked a beautiful day to explore Karlštejn. It was also a Wednesday which meant is was empty. Most tourists visit on the weekends.
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This was what the journey looked up to the castle.
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It was a good choice wearing sneakers this day!

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Along the walk to the top of the castle is many shops and restaurants. These are mostly souvenir shops that sell some wacky things at a cheap price.

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Yup those are wigs. I wonder how many tourists have bought those and worn them up to the castle?
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The views at the top of the castle shows just how small and beautiful the village is.
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The lovely Czech and European Union flags.
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When you drop water down this well it takes exactly 7 seconds to hit the bottom.
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It was frightening looking down and not being able to see the bottom. Do any of you know what 70 meters is in feet?
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This castle is of the gothic style.
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Entering the well tower, sounds like a ride at disneyland.
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The well tower is now a shop as well. It had lots of hand made Czech items such as candle holders and garden decorations.

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Always weird to find a food stand in the middle of a 14th century castle. Interesting to think about the things that happened on these grounds where you can now buy a sausage and coke!

After visiting the castle we then spent  the rest of the day wandering around the village and enjoying the sunshine.

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Karlštejn in relations to other Czech castles.
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Fun fact: a majority of the stores, restaurants, and business close at 5pm everyday, including the only grocery store in the entire village.
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The walk to the train was beautiful.
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On last peaceful moment before returning to the city.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my visit to Karlštejn, it was such a relaxing and beautiful day. It has also come to the end of my school year in Prague. It is such a bittersweet accomplishment, having to say goodbyes, pack up my life in suitcases again, and leave the city that I love. On the bright side I get to return home where I will be reunited with friends, family, and Chipotle! However, my European adventure is not over just yet. Tomorrow I leave for a 25 day trip (currently having trouble trying to pack for that long, lets hope I can do laundry along the way)! My friend Kacie and I are heading to Italy, Ireland, Scotland, England, and Austria. We didn’t want our adventure to end just yet, so you can bet I will have lots of pictures (especially food pictures :)) and stories to report to you next week! Let me know if you have any questions for me to answer while on my travels, I would love to answer them for you! Also I cannot wait to Skype with you guys and get a proper introduction, I wish I could be there in person but there is unfortunately an ocean in the way of us.

Talk to you soon,

Jamie